Posts Tagged: kindle

Publishing Industry Growing Pains at Book Expo America

I spent the last few days at the book lover’s Mecca: Book Expo America 2013.  I noticed several things this year that made it stand out in contrast to my past pilgrimages to BEA (I’ve attended as an author, speaker, buyer, retailer and marketer). The most glaring things centered on the overall atmosphere and a sense that the publishing industry is still struggling to keep up with rapid changes in technology and how readers consume and buy books.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m an avid lover of the printed page. I much prefer to hold a real book in my hands, and only reluctantly use Kindle for iPad or iBooks. That said – the times, they are a changin’. I think BEA could have used the Expo to set a great example for publishers, buyers and consumers, with a few simple tweaks to the conference.

If you walked the Exhibit hall, you may have noticed a larger area devoted to the self publishing industry, the digital publishing industry, digital publishing tools, and e-readers. You may have noticed a slight increase in speakers dealing with the growth of digital and multimedia reading experiences. In my opinion – it wasn’t quite enough of a push. This series of trends in how people consume “content” has been growing, whether traditional publishers like it or not, for several years.

 What I Liked

I liked the floor space given to the new, easy tools authors have at their disposal to empower them with easy publishing in a new digital age. There was no shortage of booths for companies that help authors create multimedia, enhanced, books-as-portable-masterpieces that allow readers to go deeper into the story through music, videos, 3D graphics, maps, illustrations, games, animations, and more (and in some cases that may make authors and publishers uncomfortable: manipulate and “mix” an existing digital story into something new).

I liked the healthy number of talks centered around digital media and publishing for portable readers, tablets and a newly responsive and multimedia-driven web space. I’m glad that there is more education being offered at events like this one to help authors and publishers learn to better navigate the digital reading environment, and that many of the talks centered around how to make your digital publications more compelling and take them beyond just a simple PDF or basic ebook.

I liked that they continued to have an app for phone and tablet to help navigate the conference, though I felt it was a bit incomplete. It did help not to have to carry around magazines and maps when you already carry around big swag bags full of heavy books and booth trinkets.

I liked that the app included a way to scan fellow attendees nametags for inclusion in your contacts and for ease of mailing ordered books. They have offered this in years past, but this year the technology worked fairly seamlessly – an improvement.

What Was Missing

There were a few things I thought were missing from the Expo. Many of them I hope to see next year.

I thought the app had a few missed opportunities, mostly in the area of digital publications. I noticed a marked decrease in the number of available galley copies to take home and evaluate this year, but there was no equivalent uptick in electronic books. Why wasn’t the app set up to ping you when you passed a publisher booth to offer you a free download for your Kindle, Nook, or iBooks apps? I realize this would take massive coordination with the publishers to accomplish, but in an age where publishing is becoming digital, this is a huge miss in my opinion. In fact, I’d have even been pleased to see signs on publisher booths offering one of the dreaded QR codes that led to a download page while at BEA. Only a handful of booths tried to include technology driven downloads.

On the publisher side, there were several who were still reluctant to include social media and email in their marketing and in their communications with fans. Most of the major publishing houses had social fan outreach in place, but the smaller publishers did not. This was an especially glaring miss in the comic and graphic novel publishing section of the Expo. There are few fans more rabid than comic book lovers, and the publishers seem to be content to let them subsist in the dark with only minimal official engagement online. For example, did you know they are rebooting “Elfquest” soon? Neither did I, until I had a side conversation with a booth rep about favorite graphic novels. A rabid comic fan might have picked this up via forum or blog scuttlebutt and rumor, but for folks like me who love comics but don’t get into the fan world? There has to be a better way to find out information about what’s coming next.

I also noticed a lot of companies offering DRM solutions and ways for authors to protect their work in various ways. I think there needs to be an equal number of ways for people to share their digital reading material. The thing that is lacking in digital editions of books is the ability to easily hand it to a friend and say “Wow, this is awesome – you have to read this.” The more a book is isolated by DRM, or fixed to a certain ereader or software, the less the idea behind the book can travel, and I think that does all of us a disservice.

I also felt a sea change in the overall atmosphere of the conference. There was a buzz from previous years that seemed largely missing this time around. In fact, instead of feeling like I was walking through a bustling hive of book lovers, it felt more like I was walking through the world’s largest homogenous Barnes & Noble Superstore. This is, I’m sure, strictly a matter of perception, but I think that bustling indie feel will return to the Expo once the industry embraces the new, more accessible, ways of publishing and reading books.

Did you attend this year? What were your takeaways from the Expo?



WMUR Channel 9 Tech Talk Transcript from February 29, 2012

I have so enjoyed doing Tech Talk with you via WMUR Channel 9 (ABC) during the month of February.

I hope you found it useful. Here is this morning’s transcript


  • Hi Leslie,

    I’m currently interning with a very small company that has taken on the admirable (and challenging) task of rekindling the flame of local radio in Manchester NH, and my background in media studies and audio production has elevated my role to more of an operations manager.

    I’ve recently been exploring the ways in which our social media accounts interact with our website, and I’m trying to determine which functions are better provided by one medium over another. In short, our website provides our listeners with tremendous functionally, such as a blog, audio and video clips, press releases and survey questions, and our strategy has largely been guiding our audience to this website through our radio show and our social media accounts.

    My question is this: is it more productive to pull Facebook/Twitter users away from those sites and to our own unique website (which we also sell ad space for), or is it more effective to cultivate stronger and more interactive relationships on these accounts alone, or some combination of the two? At time it seems counterproductive to pull users away from an environment in which they already happy interact (Facebook/Twitter), but our ability to monetize our own website is important to our business model.

    Thank you for your input!

    by Steve Messa 7:00 AM
  • There are two parts to this answer.

    First: It is always better to pull people over to your site whenever possible for the simple reason that you OWN it. The TOS (Terms of Service) of Facebook, especially, dictates that any photos or other content you upload to their site, they own and can use for profit. They are doubling down on this with their upcoming social ads, that actually will pull comments from people’s public fan pages to sell their products. It’s always better for the business to keep full ownership of their content and full control over what they post and how it is used.

    Second: You can’t control how users prefer to use the internet, and the fact that folks are already comfortable with Facebook, etc and are already there means that yes, a presence there is key to your business surviving and thriving. The trick is to instill some kind of app or other mechanism that allows the user on FB to enjoy your content that you are producing on your site – not all businesses have the budget for this. If you don’t, then have a thriving presence there centered around conversation with your fans and use that to bring them out to your site.

    by Leslie Poston 7:01 AM
  • certain accounts are following me on twitter who i don’t want to follow me. can i block them?
    by Jas 7:10 AM
  • Yes, you can block accounts on Twitter. If you use Twitter by going to their site,, you can block someone by clicking their user name. This brings up a window with a synopsis of their profile. In that window you see a drop down arrow. Clicking that brings up a list of options (mention them, direct message them, add to a list, etc. The options for reporting and blocking are there. If you use a program like Hootsuite for Twitter, clicking the name brings up a profile window, and the block user, or block and report for spam, is at the bottom of the window.
    by Leslie Poston 7:12 AM
  • When is the iPad 3 coming out??
    by tech question 7:14 AM
  • I wish I knew! Apple keeps a tight lid on their product launches. Speculation says this year, but only Apple knows for sure.
    by Leslie Poston 7:14 AM
  • Is Tweetdeck the best twitter application or can you recommend a better one?
    by Jas 7:18 AM
  • Tweetdeck has been acquired by Twitter in recent years and they have been making some changes to it recently that have the users a little upset. While they sort it out I might recommend another option. 

    I use Hootsuite to manage my account and those of my clients. It is free for one user but more users cost money. One reason I like it – it lets you see when someone has replied to a customer already if you have lots of people on one account.

    Seesmic is another option, totally free, for one person to use. It’s really nicely done and clean.

    Another is Twimbow – a free app that lets you sort your stream by color and other cool things.

    If you like stats another one that isn’t completely free is PeopleBrowsr.

    If you are a larger business you might want something more robust, like Meltwater Engage (formerly JitterJam), the Awareness Hub, Eloqua, etc.

    There are hundreds of apps out there to choose from, though, so if you don’t see one you like up there you can look at tools like to find more.

    by Leslie Poston 7:23 AM
  • Suzanne from Facebook: I cannot load my music to y kindle I have tried on three diffrent computers and have followed all teh steps on the kindle & using the direction in my media players on my computers. very disapointed. any suggestions?
    by Kevin Clay/WMUR Staff 7:28 AM
  • Hmm. That sounds like a tricky problem. I know Kindles don’t always play well with music that is not in the right format. If that isn’t the issue, then I think Amazon Tech Support might be the best place to find an answer for this one – they can look at your whole problem and review the steps you’ve taken with you and help you fully.
    by Leslie Poston 7:30 AM
  • Hi Leslie, thanks so much for doing this chat today. I was wondering what’s the best way to increase the number of Twitter followers I have?
    by BigCity 7:31 AM
  • The best way to increase your Twitter followers is to be involved, be engaged and be interesting. For the first month you are on Twitter (or longer if you are struggling with it) it can feel like you are talking to yourself. There are some simple ways to get more people interested in talking with you:

    1) Make sure your Twitter account is not protected – protected accounts are hidden, so no one can find you to follow you

    2) Use Twitter search to find people talking about things you are interested in or topics relevant to your company – then join the conversation. You don’t have to be following someone to reply to them on Twitter! It’s by nature a public conversation and public news feed – jump right on in. Then, if you get a dialogue going, you might find that those people are people you want to follow and that want to also follow you. The #Discover area on is also useful for finding common topics to talk about with folks you haven’t met yet.

    3) At an event? Find out the hasthag and jump in on the conversation there and share your event photos etc using it. For example, Social Media Breakfast NH uses #SMBNH every time we have a breakfast so attendees can find each other and find content relevant to the event. Also make a list of the attendees to follow, and make sure you are on any public Twitter Lists for the event as well.

    4) Jump in on a live Twitter Chat. A great one is #blogchat on Sunday nights, but there are a ton of chats relevant to you. Check the full list here (or add yours to it if you have one you host):

    5) Get into Twitter habits. For example, @CSPENN is know for his link sharing #the5 now (among other things) – people now expect him to share his five best links using that hashtag. Find your “thing” then make it a habit

    This is just the tip of the iceberg but it should get you started!

    by Leslie Poston 7:38 AM
  • Sarah from Facebook: What do you think about pinterest’s policies on copyright?
    by Kevin Clay/WMUR Staff 7:39 AM
  • Pinterest and sites like it (Anybeat, Minglewing, Gentlemint, Foodspotting, TinyReview, etc) all have similar copyright policies. Facebook has one of the most evil site policies for copyright, giving them ownership of anything you upload, including private photos on your personal page, to sell for use in ads, etc. It just doesn’t get the same public outcry (which is too bad – it really should get the same attention until the problem is resolved, but I digress). 

    I like that Pinterest addressed the customer service aspect of the issue by putting control into your hands – if you look on their site you see they now provide site owners with a bit of code that allows you to opt out of having people “Pin” your content.

    Remember: the trade off for these free sites is YOU: is your data and your content. Protect yourself.

    by Leslie Poston 7:44 AM
  • I’m a teacher and was wondering if you know of any WordPress plugins for a self-hosted site that might be of educational use, such as games or site features.
    by LorenzoA 7:44 AM
  • There are so many cool WordPress plugins and site features out there for education, and some that are not intended for education but get put to use in the classroom. With so many it’s hard to narrow it down, but here are a few (YMMV):

    LePress: organize courses, make assignments

    Lesson Plan Book: Calendar of lessons

    Possibly Related Classroom Projects pulls in relevant projects from DonorsChoose

    Then there are a ton of plugins for calendars, histories, timeline visualization, visual content enhancement, and collaborative editing that are useful but not classroom specific.

    Find other teachers like @ldpodcast @johnherman @holden @scastriotta etc on Twitter and talk to them about what they use also.

    by Leslie Poston 7:47 AM
  • I have a Verizon iPhone, but I suppose my question could pertain to any iPhone. What are effective ways to charge it like during a power outage with no house AC power and car DC power is out of the question?
    by Thomas Grice 7:49 AM
  • If you do a quick search online, there is a charging case you can buy that extends the life of the battery long past normal use time. 

    There are also USB charge packs (look for one with the right connector style for the iPhone – some are meant for other phones). I keep USB charge packs in my house for my Android phone – it’s saved my bacon in a few NH ice storms and outages to have them around.

    by Leslie Poston 7:51 AM
  • I have 509 items on my Kindle (oldest model) I can I clean it out without having to delete each item?
    by martha 7:53 AM
  • I’m not a Kindle user, but it looks like you aren’t the only one having that issue. Apparently you can unregister your Kindle, download the items, then clean it off, HOWEVER – I’m not sure I’d recommend that route – I’ve never tried it myself. Here is a bit more about the problem:
    by Leslie Poston 7:55 AM
  • Thanks to everyone for the questions and thanks to Leslie Poston for answering questions all this month! You can see more about how to connect with Leslie on the right side of this page.
    by Kevin Clay/WMUR Staff 7:59 AM

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